Samsung NX10 RAW Image Quality

We've recently started looking at RAW files converted with dcraw, an excellent freeware raw converter. dcraw usually offers timely support for the latest cameras, but more importantly, it does not apply any noise-reduction, sharpening or other corrections such as geometric distortion correction to the output files. (We found that Adobe Camera Raw still applies some limited noise-reduction when its NR settings are set to zero, and it also applies other corrections depending on the make and model of the camera). There will always be differences between RAW converters, in terms of the sort of demosaicing algorithms they use (the processes by which they convert the separate Red, Green, and Blue data sets to an array of full-color RGB pixels), but dcraw seems to use a fairly generic algorithm that delivers good sharpness with relatively few artifacts, and can be counted on to not apply any noise reduction if you don't want it to.

Below are crops of Samsung NX10 RAW files compared to RAW files from other current SLDs, the Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic GF1, converted with dcraw.

Samsung NX10 vs
Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic GF1
RAW Comparison
RAW files converted with dcraw, no NR, no sharpening
Simulated Daylight
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
0

1
0
0
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
O

2
0
0
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
0

4
0
0
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
O

8
0
0
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
0

1
6
0
0
Samsung NX10
Olympus E-PL1
Panasonic GF1
I
S
O

3
2
0
0

At lower ISOs, the Samsung NX10's RAW file compare nicely to the others in terms of noise. The Panasonic GF1 is the noisiest of the group at all ISOs, but the E-PL1 is pretty similar below ISO 800. At ISO 800 we can see the NX10 is a bit noisier than the Olympus E-PL1. At ISO 1,600 the NX10 is similar to the E-PL1. At the NX10's top ISO of 3,200, the NX10 is perhaps a touch noisier than the E-PL1.

Let's see how the Samsung NX10 compares to SLRs with APS-C models at higher ISOs. Afterall, it was the promise of better high ISO performance with the use of an APS-C sized sensor that makes the NX10 unique among SLDs at this point in time.

Samsung NX10 vs
Canon T1i, Nikon D5000, and Pentax K-x
High ISO RAW Comparison
RAW files converted with dcraw, no NR, no sharpening
Simulated Daylight
Samsung NX10
Canon T1i
Nikon D5000
Pentax K-x
I
S
O

8
0
0
Samsung NX10
Canon T1i
Nikon D5000
Pentax K-x
I
S
0

1
6
0
0
Samsung NX10
Canon T1i
Nikon D5000
Pentax K-x
I
S
O

3
2
0
0
Samsung NX10
Canon T1i
Nikon D5000
Pentax K-x
I
S
0

6
4
0
0
N/A
ISO 6400
not supported
N/A
ISO 6400
not supported
N/A
ISO 6400
not supported
Samsing NX10
Canon T1i
Nikon D5000
Pentax K-x
I
S
0

1
2
8
0
0
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported
N/A
ISO 12800
not supported

Here, we can see the Samsung NX10 is the noisiest of the group. At ISO 800 it competes fairly well, though the red leaf fabric shows quite a bit more noise compared to the others. At ISO 1,600 noise is similar to the Canon (which is the closest in terms of megapixel count), though the T1i still edges it out. At ISO 3,200 the Samsung NX10's noise seems to take a larger step than the others. To our eyes, it looks like it is almost a full stop noisier than the Canon T1i and Nikon D5000, and much noisier than Pentax K-x.

 

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